Thursday, April 17, 2008

Peanut allergy kills

This article just made me weepy, and I don't usually get that way.

Another little boy just died of his peanut allergy, and his mom wishes she had been more properly-informed. Here's her warning story.

At a young age, they discovered he had a peanut allergy but, it didn’t affect daily life very much. No doctor ever explained to the Smith family that a peanut allergy could be life threatening. Even so, Andrew arranged for his own peanut free table in the cafeteria at his elementary school and had several of his friends join him there. He was aware of his peanut allergy but he was also a very picky eater. So he avoided obvious sources of peanut and kept to the same few foods that he liked and was comfortable with.

Andrew’s life was tragically cut short this past February. His mother Pamela told us that he died from an anaphylactic reaction that was complicated by his asthma. She shared her son’s story in the hopes of saving another child.
Pamela, thanks for sharing your story, and I'm thinking of you at this horrible time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Welcome to Kindergarten

We went to Kindergarten this week. Well, it was an abbreviated version of kindergarten, just an hour and a half on Tuesday morning, but it was fun.

Andrew's school does a short reading program for kids who are entering kindergarten this year. It's a 4-week program, and the kids and parents get to meet the principal, the kindergarten teacher and the librarian. And Geoff got to play with the Grade 7 kids who had been hired as babysitters.

How wonderful was this experience for an allergic mom? Let me count the ways.
  • The kindergarten teacher wanted to make sure that he'd have his epipen in a fanny pack and suggested that I get him one with a fun logo on it, as that's worked in previous years. He's going to be her 5th anaphylactic child so she's feeling pretty capable of handling any situation.
  • The kindergarten teacher lives in my neighbourhood, only two blocks away, and her kids went to that school, decades ago. She's super friendly and I think that she's the kind of teacher that would be loved by her kids.
  • Going by the registration forms, there are only going to be about 18 kids in his class, less than the 22 maximum. That should be easier for him to handle, as there are only 20 kids in his preschool class.
  • The principal gave me a form for a free medic-alert bracelet. There's a program that makes sure that all anaphylactic kids in elementary school get registered for free.
  • I was assured several times that the school was totally peanut and nut free — the only one so far in the district — and the principal sends a note home every couple of months to remind all parents of that fact.
Yeah, we could put him in the French immersion elementary school that's only a couple of blocks further away, but this one feels so much more safe for him.

And the weirdest part was that we spent part of our session in the teachers' staffroom, and felt SO grown up! My memories of the staffroom in elementary school was that it was totally off limits to kids, so it was weird to be in there. It was also weird that the principal was my age, or even possibly a little younger.

Andrew's already announced that he's now done with preschool, since he's already started kindergarten. I think he'll make the transition nicely when it comes in September.

Edited to add: it looks like the free medic alert bracelets are for Canadians only. Here's a CBC story about it.